The Grudge 2

APRIL 3, 2007


I stand by yesterday’s claim that the film did not need to be 109 minutes.

However, I must... BEGRUDGINGLY (!!!) admit that The Grudge 2 was slightly better than I expected. I was no fan of the original, and I assumed this would be worse, but I think I actually liked it more. It’s still a mess of a film, but I wasn’t left angered, like I was after the original. And it began with a man being killed with a frying pan.

I am not sure if we are supposed to know right off the bat that the Amber Tamblyn storyline takes place 2 years before the others, it seems like we are supposed to be surprised, but the 3rd or 4th line of the film reveals that Sarah Michelle Gellar’s character started a fire ‘2 years ago’ and then Tamblyn is shown flying to Japan to make sure she’s OK a day or so after the fire. So I have no idea. It’s not like I can just ask the writer.

Either way the story is pretty thin. Since we got all the backstory in the first film, there’s little to do here other than watch more people get killed. There’s some investigation and a visit to the ghost’s mother, but it goes nowhere.

There is a bit of a mean streak in the film, which I think helped me enjoy it as much as I did (which again, wasn’t much, but certainly more than I thought I would). The blond chick pisses her pants (which is actually a towel so the urine splatter is pretty wide), the little kid in Chicago finds his whole family dead, and Tamblyn watches Gellar plummet and splatter to her death a few feet away. Hahahahaha.

Gellar’s death isn’t very surprising, since she makes only one or two shots in the ad and is also listed as “AND Sarah Michelle Gellar” (though strangely top-billed at the end, a lá Christopher Lambert in Mortal Kombat). Instead, she went off to make The Return, a film which everyone in the world (at least, the other 98 people who saw it) hated, except for me and my good friend Matt. *sigh*

In addition, there are a few shots here and there that prove Shimizu knows how to pull off effective shots. Like when the bizarrely imported character of Eason ("I pulled your sister out of the fire." OK, sure, why not.) sees the ghost on a videotape, then shuts the TV off and the ghost is reflected on the blank screen in the same spot. Or when Gellar’s running thru her 2nd (of two) scenes and the ghost is barely glimpsed behind a group of hilariously nonchalant doctors. Good stuff.

And I must laud writer Steven Susco for providing us with one of cinema’s true rarities: A teenaged girl who actually likes her stepmother. She helps her move in, talks about clothes with her… it’s refreshing to see.

He also provides the character with an incredibly hot friend who randomly pukes milk.

Since the movie is less a cohesive narrative and more just a collection of scenes (indeed, nearly every scene fades to black and the next fades in. Perhaps the subtitle of the film should have been “Meanwhile….”), the outcome is not surprising: some scenes are pretty good, others are worthless. Put the DVD in and find your own favorites!

Speaking of the DVD, there’s a fascinating featurette that is worth the price of stealing the DVD from Blockbuster alone. It concerns the process of mixing the J-Horror and American Horror styles when trying to develop the film (one guy dismisses American horror films as being about “crazy people trying to kill a bunch of people in a certain area”. Apparently he only watches John Carpenter films*). The poor sod who had to write the script based on these conflicting ideas is sadly absent, but it’s still pretty fascinating, and kudos to Sony for including it when it includes such sentiments as “the studio’s ideas were boring” (paraphrase). It is also during this featurette that we are given what may be history’s first subtitle spacing based faux pas:

Hahahah (for the record, the rest of the sentence was like ‘unless I liked the story’). There’s also a collection of deleted scenes that, unintentionally or not, reveal what a goddamn mess the production of this film must have been (Eason shows up in the schoolgirls’ storyline, when he would have been dead for two years if you follow the storyline in the finished product).

I should note that the girl in the schoolgirl story may possibly be the only girl in history I find more attractive with short blond hair (as she is shown in the extras) than with long dark hair, which I usually prefer. Huh. Perhaps I’m maturing.

What say you?

*Carpenter has done a ‘folks trapped in a place’ movie 5 times: Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing, Prince of Darkness, Ghosts of Mars, and the 2nd half of The Fog.


  1. I freakin LOVED "The Return" man! That movie kicked ass! I went into it expected a horror flick, but it was more about a woman finding herself, which was ok. I'm a big, excuse me, HUGE SMG fan, so that might cloud my judgement a little bit, but the script amd story was so well written and the characters were so well rounded. I love finding movies like these, of course, I, like you, was the only one I knew who liked the film. But the Grudge, I thought it was a nice little horror flick, don't be haten on my girl Sarah!

  2. Shes the only reason I'd even consider watching it again. So f-ing hot. I remember when i was like 16, flipping the channels and stopping on a soap opera because the girl onscreen was so goddamn beautiful. sat and watched the whole thing to find out her name. It was her (All My Children?? Now i forget). FREDDIE PRINZE JR IS NOT WORTHY. hahaha

  3. I have the sneaking suspicion that Shimizu got so bored doing his Grudge thing again for the millionth time that he decided to spice things up by having almost every girl in the film wear a short skirt and/or cheerleader outfit. And I don't blame him.

    I must admit I like the original Ju-On: The Grudge (although I haven't yet seen the TV movies) so it was slightly painful to see how moronic each subsequent entry was. Ju-On 2 was creative but not creepy, The Grudge had some nice photography but some really lame jump scares, and The Grudge 2 was totally inept, as if Shimizu wasn't even trying to make it scary. Maybe he wasn't? Anyway, there was one moment that did impress me, though, and that's when Kayako comes out of a picture the photographer is developing (or something like that. I haven't seen it since it was in theaters).
    If you want a more original and effective Shimizu movie (starring the awesome Shinya Tsukamoto no less!) check out Marebito.


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